First Zainab’s (RA) bint Jahash original name was “Barat” which the Holy Prophet (pbuh) changed when she embraced Islam. Abdullah bin Jahash (RA) and Abu Ahmed bin Jahash (RA) were her brothers and Humna bint Jahash (RA) was her sister. She was first married in 3 Hijra to Zaid bin Hartha (RA), the freed slave of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). By this marriage the old age tradition “Not giving the daughter in marriage to the slave” was discarded and the theory of “Equality” in Islam was established.
The Jahash family migrated to Madina-al-Munauwara as per the instructions and will of the Prophet (pbuh). Abdullah bin Jahash (RA) led the caravan to Madina-al-Munauwara which consisted of Abu Ahmed Bin Jahash (RA) who is the famous poet, Zainab bint Jahash (RA), Mussab bin Umair (RA) and his wife Humna bint Jahash (RA), Abdur Rahman bin Awf (RA) and his wife Umm-e-Habeeb bint Jahash (RA).
It is reported that Zainab (RA) bint Jahash was not happy with the proposal of her marriage with Zaid bin Hartha (RA). She agreed to the proposal when Allah (S.T.) revealed this verse.
It is not fitting for a Believer man or woman when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Apostle to have any option about their decision: if anyone disobeys Allah and His Apostle he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.
(Surah 33 “Al-Ahzab”, Ayah 36)
The marriage was not success and it was difficult to manage day to day affairs. Zaid bin Hartha (RA) ultimately made up his minor divorce to Zainab bint Jahash (RA). The Prophet (pbuh) persuaded him to fear Allah (S.T.) and restrain himself the extreme step of divorce had to take place.
It was a tradition in the Arabs to adopt sons and they were treated as the real ones. The wives of the adopted sons were in the same position as that of real daughter-in-laws. It was therefore not considered to bring them under their marriages. Allah (S.T.) send down Angel Jibrael and informed the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to marry Zainab (RA) bint Jahash. The Holy Prophet (pbuh), by taking the existing problem (of not marrying the widow of the adopted sons) into consideration and was much worried as to how the people would feel if he (pbuh) marries with Zainab (RA).In the meantime Allah (S.T.) revealed as:
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men but (he is) the Apostle of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.
(Surah 33 “Al-Ahzab”, Ayah 40)
Allah (S.T.) had decided to give her hand in the marriage with the Holy Prophet (pbuh) by revealing the following verse as:
Behold! thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favor: “Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife and fear Allah.” But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah. Then when Zaid had dissolved (his marriage) with her with the necessary (formality) We joined her in marriage to thee: in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the Believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have dissolved with the necessary (formality) (their marriage) with them: and Allah’s command must be fulfilled.
> (Surah 33 “Al-Ahzab”, Ayah 37)
As narrated in Muslim by Anas bin Malik (RA) the Holy Prophet (pbuh) sent the proposal to Zainab (RA) after the waiting period was completed through Zaid bin Hartha (RA). She said she could not immediately any reply and that she would consult Allah (S.T.) i.e. “Istekhara Salat”. She did not even complete her prayer that Allah (S.T.) revealed the verse that her marriage was arranged up in the skies by the Lord. Zainab (RA) bint Jahash was very much pleased and she gave off all her jewellery to the slave girl. Thus he entered the category of Ummul-Mumineen.
Zainab’s (RA) marriage had certain special features which distinguish her from other wives of the Prophet (pbuh). Her ‘Nikah’ was performed by Allah (S.T.). There were no formal gaurdian and the witnesses but the verses of Holy Quran serve this purpose. There was no dowry for this marriage as it was conducted by the command of Allah (S.T.), Allah (S.T.) stood guarantee on behalf of the Prophet (pbuh).
The old age tradition of not to marrying the wives of the adopted sons was discarded and it was declared that the adopted sons can not be considered as real ones and the widows of them one within the permisible limits of marriage. They should be called by their fathers name, they are “Brothers in Faith”. Further Allah (S.T.) guaranteed security of privacy to the Prophet’s household in these words as:
O ye who Believe! enter not the Prophet’s houses until leave is given you for a meal (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited enter; and when ye have taken your meal disperse without seeking familiar talk. Such (behavior) annoys the Prophet: He is ashamed to dismiss you but Allah is not ashamed (to tell you) the truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah’s Apostle or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing is in Allah’s sight an enormity.
(Surah 33 “Al-Ahzab”, Ayah 53)
The ‘Walima’ feast was so uunique and grand that no other wife of the Prophet (pbuh) had at her marriage. A goat was slaugtered and about 300 men enjoyed the feast.
Zainab (RA) was very pious, generous and God-fearing woman. She used to observe fasts, engage in prayers at day and night. A’isha Siddiqua (RA) narrates: Zainab (RA) competes with me (A’isha Siddiqua (RA)) in honour and dignity (Muslim). She also says that I have never seen a lady who gives more charity and prays to Allah’s (S.T.) pleasure.
Zainab (RA) stated that A’isha Siddqua (RA) was very pious and holds a very high character. She is associated with all virtues, purity, trusthworthiness and giving alms. I found in her (A’isa (RA)) nothing but the good and piety. In such a position she could have taken undue advantage to gain the favour and love of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). A’isha (RA) remembered this till her last breath.
Once Zainab (RA) told to Safiya (RA) that she was a Jewish lady. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was very much angry and annoyed with her that he refrained from talking with her. A’isha (RA) was approached and requested by Zainab (RA) to arrange for the “Forgiveness” from the Holy Prophet (pbuh). The Holy Prophet (pbuh) forgave Zainab (RA) when A’isha (RA) begged him to forgive her (Zainab (RA)).
Umm-e-Salma (RA) spoke highly of the virtues and good qualities of Zainab (RA) and she said Zainab (RA) is a beautiful woman and the Prophet (pbuh) comes to her very often. She is a pious woman, keeps fast, engages in prayer at nights and spends all her wealth on the needy and the poor.
A’isha Siddiqua (RA) narrated as When some of the Prophet’s wives asked him (pbuh) which of them would join him (pbuh) the soonest, He (pbuh) replied that it would be the one with the longest hand. So they took a rod and measured. Sauda (RA) was the one among them who had the longest arm. They latter came to know that charity (sadaqa) was the meaning of the length of the arm.
It is said that when Zainab (RA) bint Jahash was died, the poor and the orphans of Madina-al-Munauwara were upset. Umer Farooq (RA) reported “I heard A’isha (RA) saying (after the death of Zainab (RA) that a praiseworthy and unique lady had gone, who was a protection for orphans and widows. The Prophet (pbuh) loved Zainab (RA) very much. He (pbuh) devoted more time and more attend to her.
Zainab (RA) had made a corner of her house as a Mosque and she used to pray there and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) very often used t visit her in the Mosque. Zainab (RA) used to make “Istekhara” for everything. She is one of the fortunate ladies to whom the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had informed her of being in Paradise (Jannat).
Zainab (RA) bint Jahash died in 20 Hijra when in the period of Caliph Umer Farooq (RA). Umer Farooq (RA) offered her funeral prayer and she was burried in the “Janatul-Baqi”(Graveyard). She was 51 years old when she died. She had prepared her shroud (Kafan) by herself.
MAY ALLAH (S.T.) BE PLEASED WITH HER.